The Budget 2015 – A New Mad Max

So, the Budget is already ancient history, the political hoo-hah has been left to fester, tweak and develop into an election manifesto campaign. So what, if anything grabbed my attention?

Jilted Bribe

Firstly, I have to admit that I was expecting there to be a little more of an electoral bribe. Whilst the Chancellor certainly made much of the fact that he wasn’t going to (and thus seek to be understood as prudent or sensible) the truth is that, well… he didn’t really offer a bribe (unless its one I missed). Frankly with the national purse in the shape its in, I was rather glad, (though I remain open to the possibility of  solving the problems differently).

ISA with tax relief? – future implied?Mad-Max-5

That said, the first time buyer ISA does sound like a good idea. The detail needs further examination, but in essence there is 20% tax relief on the annual ISA allowance for people that are 18 or over and don’t (and have never) own a home. £3,000 of the £15,000 ISA allowance will be paid by the Government. Whilst everyone that qualifies will benefit, in practice, this will be a very good way of saving if you qualify… if not you, perhaps your children… opening up further options for more wealthy parents.

Pensions and Politicians… taking the …point?

As for pensions, I have to admit that the utter folly of politicians in relation to pensions has shifted gear over the last 10 years. Whilst knowing that we all need to save more so that there is less reliance on the State system… perhaps even the prospect of a means-tested State pension (who knows?) they are determined to punish successful investing and saving.

Here in the UK we are now restricted on how much can be paid into a pension and how much the pension fund can be worth. Utter madness. Yes £1m is a lot of money, but are we also going to cap how much can be held in a bank account or the value of property? what about the value of a business? These are measures to appear a poorly informed crowd by a poorly informed media. I would immediately abolish the Lifetime Allowance and simply restrict how much tax relief is provided on payments to pensions. It doesn’t have to be more complex than that. However we have a new maximum pot size for your pension. To say that this complicates life further for anyone in a Defined Benefit (DB) pension such as the NHS, would be a masterful understatement. Just so that we are clear… the Lifetime Allowance has reduced from £1.8m to £1.25m already and the Budget has reduced this to £1m in 12 months time. Ok, there will be some form of protection, but if recent experience is to go by, this is about as useful as pushing someone out of an aeroplane with an umbrella instead of a parachute. As for those that put a commercial property in their pension pot… good luck with that! The Annual allowance is now £40,000 a year as the maximum value of contributions to pensions, which may as well be written in algebra when attempting to calculate this for DB members.

Final note: our free APP is updated with all the changes announced for personal allowances, savings rates and so on.

Dominic Thomas